Monday, April 12, 2010

Yorkville Football 1969 ~ OLGC Rams

In 1969, Our Lady of Good Counsel sponsored a football team in a 145 pound limit league with other Manhattan & Bronx parishes. Joe Menesick & I went up to the 90s to play on the OLGC Rams. Both 15, our problem was staying under the weight limit. Our coach was Mr. San Souci and our home field was the dust bowl inside Central Park at 97th Street and Fifth Avenue. It looks exactly the same today.

Every Friday and Saturday night, we hung out on the 403 East 83rd Street stoop. Joe and I would run around the block 40 to 50 times, whatever it took to stay under 145
pounds for Sunday's game.

Someone brought a scale out and we had official weigh-ins on the sidewalk. "Now taking the scale, Joe Menesick, 84th Streeter, graduate of St. Joseph's, First Class Scout, Troop 654." We never stopped running until we topped off at 144.

Mom hated me playing football, she always worried about me getting hurt. She only came to see me play two or three times. This is one of those times. It was a cold windy day in the Bronx at Harris Field. Mom's standing on cardboard trying to keep her feet warm.

I played guard and defensive tackle ~ during that game I took my first Physics lesson. My opponent across the line was five to ten pounds lighter than me. At the beginning of the game, I thought I'd manhandle him. Wrong. He was quicker and he knew how to get low before I could. Every play, he got leverage and froze me on defense and blew by me on offense when I should have blocked him. This frustrated me. The next few weeks, I practiced working on technique especially leg position work and improved.

Mom was not a sports fan, and that split our house in two, Dad & me, Her & Rory. The picture below of her catching a ball in Central Park is the only photo I have of Mom even near a ball. Her best move was ducking. Sometimes for fun, I'd throw a ball to her to watch her spastic reaction. This was dumb on my part. Mom always got even.

The picture of Mom in a house dress with kerchief and curlers is one of my favorites. She normally would have a "I'm Gonna Kill You, Bob," look on her face when Dad took a picture of her that she thought might embarrass her. Here, she's in pensive thought and I'm sure that thought included my father doing penance for taking the picture. In the bookcase are Reader's Digest abridged book series and a white cup with a baseball signed by the entire 1960 New York Yankees team. On top of the bookcase, Poindexter the parakeet's birdcage. He's probably flying around the living room.


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